Father charged with baby girl's hot car death denied bond

A Gwinnett County judge has denied bond for a Snellville father charged in the death of his 8-month-old daughter.

Davied Japez McCorry Whatley was arrested Tuesday during a visit to the Snellville Police Department. Whatley had his infant daughter in the car, but investigators say he never told police. She was found hours later by her grandmother and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Appearing in court Friday for a first appearance, Whatley did not have much to say. The judge asked him if he knew what he was being charged with. Whatley said, "yes, second degree murder." The hearing wrapped up after about a half hour with the judge appointing Whatley a court appointed attorney.

Whatley, 20,  had gone to the Snellville Police Department to pick up a gun police had in their possession. Once there, authorities realized Whatley had an outstanding warrant for a probation violation and took him into custody. Police released video of his arrest where he failed to tell authorities his infant daughter was in the car. He was then booked into the Gwinnett County Jail.

Later that night, police said a woman brought her 8-month-old granddaughter to the Piedmont Eastside Emergency Room. The baby girl, Whatley's daughter, Nova Grace Whatley-Trejo, was pronounced dead.

Nova Grace Whatley-Trejo (Courtesy of the family)

The grandmother told hospital staff that the girl had been left in Whatley's car after a traffic stop. Investigators said at some point, Whatley told the child's grandmother the infant was in the car.

When police were notified about the death, officers found Whatley's car parked near the dumpsters at the Snellville City Hall.

Whatley was released on bond related to his initial arrest for a probation violation, but law enforcement took him into custody Wednesday on second-degree murder charges. 

Rise in hot car deaths

Hot car deaths have increased in recent years.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there have been 906 reported deaths since 1998. About 53 percent of hot car deaths happen because someone forgets a child in a car.

Thursdays and Fridays have had the highest deaths.

Experts said the temperature in a car can rise about 20 degrees in just 10 minutes even with the window cracked.

Officials said parents and caregivers, should always look inside your car before locking the doors and never leave a child alone.